What the Heck is a Business Plan?

05.02.2016 |

Episode #2 of the course How to Validate an Idea by Ryan Kulp


We’ve heard every criticism on the planet about business plans. Are they a waste of time? Do you need one? Will investors care?

The point of a business plan, perhaps counter-intuitively, is not to share it with spectators. A business plan is for the entrepreneur. More specifically, it’s a tool to help the entrepreneur decide if they should start.

Below are a few critical questions to consider for your new business idea. Answering them should take no more than a couple minutes, and we’ll reference them throughout the rest of this course.

Get the Worksheet Here

Completing this exercise is critical. For inspiration, here’s a pre-filled example answered imaginatively from the perspective of Facebook:

Speculative Business Plan – Facebook Circa 2004

Hopefully you haven’t cheated yourself, and you’ve worked through the questions. If you prefer to ignore this assignment, perhaps being an entrepreneur isn’t for you. There will be many more occasions where sincere introspection is required to make intelligent business decisions, and the above exercise is just a sample of that process.

We’ve all observed the myriad of features Facebook has deployed over the years, but the core aspect of connecting people has not changed. So while many of these answers may change significantly over time, the ‘aha’ moments and the ‘why’ behind your concept should remain the same.

For extra credit, check out Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “Start with Why” to learn how the best businesses in the world think about their customers, product, and solution very differently than the rest of the market.


Recommended book

“Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers” by Alexander Osterwalder


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